New York Giants position coaches met remotely with media on Tuesday. Here are some of the takeaways.
Marc Colombo: Andrew Thomas can be “a dominating left tackle”
The numbers are awful for rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas after five games. The fourth overall pick has surrendered the most pressures of any NFL tackle (28) and he has the worst Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade of 60 qualifying tackles.
Offensive line coach Marc Colombo, though, remains a believer in the 21-year-old.
“Andrew’s young. He’s really young. He’s a rookie, and he’s going to go through some growing pains, but he’s getting better and he did a lot of good things in the game the other day. Used his hands, got a few plays we need to talk about, a few things we need to clean up but for the most part it’s harping on the details. Consistency in the NFL is going to be the biggest thing for all these young guys.
“Andrew’s capable of being a dominating left tackle in the NFL. I truly believe that. He’s gone against some really good competition, he’s done well at times and at times not so much. A lot of good learning opportunities for Andrew and I truly believe after the amount of pressures and stuff that he’s seen this year, the amount of pass rushers he’s seen he’s really going to be better for it.”
Colombo said that Thomas, who has been beaten by inside moves consistently this season is “overshooting his target” and will need to show opposing teams he can handle that inside rush.
“When you put that on film you’re going to get a heavy dose of it,” Colombo said. “He’s getting excited, he’s trying to set out there with quickness, you know, handle the speed. He’s got feet to handle the speed. The inside move, it’s a cardinal sin for an offensive lineman to lose inside. That’s something really we’re going to push here moving forward because it does keep showing up. That’s something that Andrew’s gotta get fixed, that’s something I’ve gotta do a better job coaching him.”
Finding something in the running game
The Giants appeared on Sunday to have found a comfort level running inside power with pulling or trapping guards and sometimes a trailing tight end, usually Kaden Smith, leading the way.
Colombo admitted as much.
“I think the guys get excited about running powers and counters and we did do that well. That’s going to be something moving forward that we’re going to kind of grow on,” Colombo said. ‘That’s something that worked for us. We’re not there yet, we’re not perfect, but it’s something you can tell the guys are really, really, really into and they’re excited when they see it on a call sheet.
“We’ve got really good pullers, particularly Will Hernandez. it’s what he does and he’s excellent at it, he’s one of the best in the game. It’s my job to put these players in position to have success.”
Burton Burns on Devonta Freeman
“This guy does a good job of getting his shoulders north and south. he runs really physical. Those are the things that he was known for when he was in Atlanta. That’s the one thing that we’ve been impressed with, the way he gets downhill. He has this attitude about running through tackles. That’s been really good to see.”
Freddie Kitchens on Evan Engram
“Evan’s very versatile in the things that he can do. We try to find ways each week to get Evan the ball. We were successful at that this past week and Evan did a good job of making the most of his opportunities.”
On the inability thus far to get the ball to Engram on downfield passes.
“They work on the other side of the ball, too,” Kitchens said. “People are aware of what type of athlete and what type of football player Evan is. We just need to continue to do our best to get the ball in Evan’s hands.”
Tae Crowder becoming a regular player
Crowder has gone from being the final player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft to a starting linebacker who played 74 percent of the Giants’ defensive snaps last Sunday.
“He’s done really well. Most rookies it takes a little bit of time and you kinda saw that early on,” said inside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer. “He runs pretty well. He’s got some length, too. He’s got really long arms. That allows him to have a little more coverage skill than what most inside ‘backers have. He’s instinctive, knows how to fit the runs and understands formations and situations.”
Who’s on the edge?
With Lorenzo Carter out for the season and Oshane Ximines also on IR, the Giants need to turn elsewhere. That means Kyler Fackrell and Markus Golden will play more snaps, but rookies Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin could also factor in.
“They both are eager, they’re very excited, Cam’s doing a lot of good things in the kicking game, now you’d like to see that carry over to the defensive side of the ball,” said outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema. “When their time comes I’m sure they’ll put their best foot forward.
Golden played a season-high 57 snaps vs. Dallas after playing only seven in Week 4. Golden is more pure pass rusher than an edge who can be depended on to drop into coverage, a bit different than Carter, Ximines and Fackrell.
Does that change what the Giants can do defensively?
“The thing we preach in our room all the time is maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses,” Bielema said. “The outside world always look at things from a negative light — what are the limits? I always say what ar the positives?
“MG has a great set of skill sets he’s obviously been able to use in this league and we’ve gotta maximize those.”
Assessing Ryan Lewis’ first start
I asked defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson to assess Ryan Lewis’ first start at cornerback and what happened on the final completion to Michael Gallup near the end of Sunday’s game.
“I thought he played physical. He did miss some tackles that he’s gotta clean up. He was physical, he banged people, he played with good awareness. There are a couple of plays we’d like to have back.”
One of those was the long pass to Gallup that set up the Cowboys’ game-winning field goal.
“As I watched that play I get a chance to rewind it and can play it out in slow motion. I’d like him to stay on his feet and in the position he was maybe play it out of his hands as opposed to looking back. But, again, he’s playing in real time against really good players and I thought they did a great job executing and hopefully we learn from that lesson and next time that comes up I feel like Ryan’s gonna make that play for us.”